HDMI , DVI, VGA, component, composite and S-Video - there's already a long list of display interface options. So, what's the point of DisplayPort, yet another all-new interface that's beginning to appear on PCs, peripherals and components?

That's a very good question. Particularly in the context of HDMI, itself a relatively new multimedia interface that promises to deliver a unified digital display and audio interface for both PCs and consumer electronic devices. Or at least it did until the recent emergence of DisplayPort confused matters.

DisplayPort, by contrast, has no designs on the consumer electronics market. It's specifically targeted at PCs. And 2008 is the year it's expected to come of age. The monstrous maker of PC kit that is Dell Computer is fully committed to the new interface and is already shipping compliant products, for instance.

Bandwidth boost

But if there's little doubt DisplayPort is coming, the advantage it offers - particularly over HDMI - is less well known. Delivering more bandwidth, enabling simpler connectivity and cabling, all the while keeping costs down are the main aims for DisplayPort.

Where it really differs from HDMI is its impressive flexibility and scalability. Thanks to its packet-switched data format, DisplayPort will be capable of all kinds of devilry including daisy chaining of multiple monitors and piping video, audio and USB connectivity through a single cable.

The packet-switched data format also makes it easier to enable much higher resolutions, refresh rates and colour depths. That means millions more colours, silky smooth motion video and generally more vibrant and realistic images.

The analysts at In-Stat reckon that the emergence of HDMI and DisplayPort as video connects sounds the death knell for the DVI standard. "DVI will decline from 112 million device shipments in 2007 to just 3 million device shipments in 2011," In-Stat predicts. It's less a 'decline', more of a 'plummet'.

For more, hop on over to our in depth analysis of the full DisplayPort feature set.